Sunday, November 6, 2011

Squash Season

Name this squash!
and then eat it - 
Squash & Kale Risotto recipe below
P.S. I helped grow these!  I find that veggies always taste better when I've worked for them; or perhaps I just appreciate them more and it makes them that much more delicious?
Delicata - small yellow ones with green stripes; Butternut - oblong,sandy colored; Hokkaido - green on the outside, but deep orange and smooth on the inside. Plus it stores well into January; Pie pumpkin - I think you know this one; Props to those of you who know the large pale green one, alas I have forgotten its name.
One of the joys of eating with the season besides the potential decrease in carbon emissions, and more flavorful, nutritious food, is I get to anticipate and look forward to what's coming up next.  In fall there are a lot of treats - persimmons, chestnuts, greens, but with out a doubt my fall favorite is winter squash.  Truth be told, delicata (beware not all delicata's are created equal.  Go for the smaller ones with bright yellow and orange rather than yellow-green rinds) and hokkaido are my favorite, but butternuts and a good pie pumpkin are always great too.

Another joy of eating foods in season is that it makes deciding what to eat for dinner that much easier!  All it takes is looking to see what's on hand. How do I stock up? We get a CSA share of produce from Shade River every week.  One of the best parts, even better than getting a little bit of that Christmas like anticipation every week, is the fact that I don't have to choose what to buy at the Farmers Market.  Sounds strange, but I could easily deliberate for well over an hour about what to buy and from who.  This way if there is something I really want, I get it. Otherwise I just pick up my box of produce and am on my way with delicious, fresh, seasonal produce.  Thank you Star, Lilly and Mike!

Think about it: 
What do you eat?
  • Learn a new variety of winter squash this week
  • Eat something grown by the person you bought it from

Squash & Kale Risotto
from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites
(~4 large servings)

4 1/2 - 5 C. vegetable stock
1 C. onions, minced
1 1/2 C. arborio rice
1/2 C. white wine
2 C. peeled and cubed winter squash, 1inch or smaller
3 C. kale, stemmed & chopped
1/8 - 1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp lemon peel, grated (do not skip this if at all possible, or try substituting lemon balm)

1. Boil stock and reduce to a simmer.
2. In a heavy saucepan, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil and saute onions until softened, about 5 minutes.
3. Using a wooden spoon, add rice and stir until coated with oil.  Add more oil if needed.
4. Add white wine and stir until absorbed.  Then add 1/2 cup of stock.  Stir until rice has absorbed liquid, about 2-3 minutes. Repeat with 2 more cups of broth, adding 1/2 a cup at a time.
5. Stir in squash and kale. Continue adding 1/2 cup of broth every few minutes for about 10 minutes
6. When rice is tender, add nutmeg, lemon, salt and pepper to taste.  This is a good time to add Parmesan or Ramono cheese if you can eat it. A note about Ramano, it is normally made from sheep's milk.  Some who cannot tolerate cow dairy products do just fine with goat or sheep dairy products.

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